In mid-February, following various celebrations and much merriment, I was feeling more pickled than the gherkins I’ve recently taken a fancy for ( grabbed from the fridge and wrapped in a slice of ham- so Deutsch, so delish!)
Below I explain why I’ve given up the sauce for a month and, must say, it makes a very compelling case *slurps on her mint tea smugly*.
Hangovers and anxiety
I encountered two ridiculous hangovers within just over a month of each other at the start of the year that totally floored me and made me legit hate myself.
Knowing how badly proper hangovers affect me both mentally and physically, I’ve changed my drinking a lot in recent years and try not to get smashed.That doesn’t mean that I don’t drink though. Tipsy I love, drinking alone I adore (don’t judge me!) and I associate drinks with lots of lovely things, from flying to bathing, relaxing, partying, celebrating and holidaying.
The thick glug of red wine being poured into a glass on a Friday evening gives me all the wind down feels and don’t even get me started on the excitable pop of a champagne/prosecco cork.
Typically I don’t drink during the week but if there’s wine around ( and there usually isn’t as it’s all been guzzled at the weekend) then it’s likely I’ll pour a glass with dinner on a rainy Tuesday or Wednesday.
Mostly I manage to get a nice buzz on when I’m drinking and I don’t even typically drink all that much – if I’m at home I’ll maybe have a bottle of wine over the course of a weekend but sometimes, like if I’m at a gig or with friends, then it’s way more.
With a small frame and terrible habit of getting over excited and forgetting to switch to water, I can expect about two to three devastating hangovers a year. These are the type that have me Googling ‘I have a hangover and want to die’ and ‘giving up drinking in your 30’s.’
So, I certainly wouldn’t say I’m an alcoholic but I also wouldn’t exactly say that my relationship with alcohol is super healthy.
The two hangovers that happened recently were the final straw. The first was a classic New Year’s Day hangover but far from chowing down on a traditional steak pie and chortling at the previous night’s events, all I could do was lie listlessly on the sofa watching Peaky Blinders, praying for a coke with ice in it to magically appear. It didn’t.
I felt physically drained and properly depressed for three days afterwards and swore that, as Dolly Parton as my witness, I would never do it again. Six weeks later I did the same thing again although on a less grand scale.
Some people are able to wake up with a hangover and laugh, actually laugh about how drunk they were the night before. That’s something I have never been able to do, not even in my early twenties when I was always convinced I’d done something terrible.
When I was younger it was sort of, ‘ just what you did,’ whereas now, as a 34-year old who’s meant to have her shit together, I don’t think that washes anymore and it’s just another stick to beat myself with.
IBS and red wine don’t make you feel fine
So, alcohol can clearly affect my anxiety and mental health pretty badly. Not just that though, it impacts my physical health too, as I suffer from IBS ( most likely wrapped up with the whole anxiety thing) and do you know what’s really bad when you have IBS? Booze.
Red wine actually makes me feel terrible, one glass is enough to make me feel queasy or at least give me a good dose of heartburn, so it actually seems sort of masochistic to throw it down my neck, ‘because it’s lovely and warming in winter,’ or, ‘will go so well with this steak!’ but throw it down my neck I continue to do, people!
The hangover eating
On a really bad hangover, I can’t eat and I can’t even bear to smell food being eaten or cooked, which is surely another troubling red flag that my body is really pissed off due to too much Malbec.
On a lighter hangover, where I’m really just a bit thirsty and can’t be bothered doing anything, which is the most common type of hangover I experience, Dominos is called, crisps are inhaled and healthy batch cooking for the week goes out of the window. Calories, fat and more calories.
Over three weeks of not drinking
The end of my imposed sobriety ends on Saturday and yet when I think of a glass of wine, even a cool one on a hot summers day, I gravitate straight towards the icky feelings in my stomach and not the buzz, so I might stick to soft drinks a little longer.
Some time ago a big wig medical person was interviewed in the news about our drinking habits in the UK, and said, “why can’t people just relax with a nice cup of tea at the end of a busy week,” it stuck in my brain somewhere as, despite scoffing at him at the time, it’s obviously something I want to do instead of automatically reaching for the vino.
After three weeks, I’ve saved lots of money and felt pretty good at the weekends, getting up early, exercising and battering out freelance articles or running errands that would have been put on pause if I’d been boozing the previous night.
I’ve had fun and hung out with friends and not even been really tempted to drink once, which I didn’t expect.
I’ve also learned that total abstinence is in many ways so much easier to enforce than a grey area, for example, saying, “I’m not drinking right now,” is better than shaky boundaries or a ‘five drink rule,’ which can go out the window after two strong drinks and is open to persuasion from others.
How long will it last? Who knows, I’m going to London next weekend to see HAMILTON!! which is terribly exciting so I may feel a few drinks is appropriate, then it’s my hen weekend at the end of April followed by wedding and honeymoon so I fully plan to be popping bottles by then, but hopefully only for special occassions and less out of habit.
Cheers bitches! xxxx